Findings from the 2021 Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Designee Survey indicate that campus and conference ADIDs seek enhanced internal support, further defined expectations and promotion of the designation to a full-time role. The survey was conducted from April 26 to May 17 with findings shared in June at the NCAA Inclusion Forum.
The athletics diversity and inclusion designee, known as the ADID, has been the primary liaison between the national office and athletics departments, conference offices and campuses for diversity, equity and inclusion topics since Aug. 1, 2020. Near the end of their first year in the role, ADIDs in each division responded to a 10-minute survey administered online.
In collaboration with the office of inclusion, NCAA research designed and distributed the survey to understand better the role and programmatic needs of campus and conference ADIDs.
"After the first year of this role for ADIDs, we thought it was important as a committee to get information about what support is needed to help aid you in these roles," said Niya Blair Hackworth, director of inclusion. "We know it's new, and we know that we have people from all over in all sorts of positions that are serving in this role in addition to other full-time responsibilities."
Of the 342 completed surveys, 318 came from campus ADIDs and 24 from conference ADIDs. Response rates for each division were typical for administrator surveys, with a 35% response rate from Division I campuses, 23% from Division II and 29% in Division III.
Respondents signaled that their engagement in athletics department and conference office diversity, equity and inclusion efforts was higher after accepting the ADID role. Campus ADID respondents also indicated that their responsibilities most often included work with athletics diversity and inclusion committees, as well as athletics-specific diversity and inclusion education, programming initiatives and strategic planning. Respondents from conference offices most frequently indicated responsibilities in diversity and inclusion education and strategic planning, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee efforts and conference diversity and inclusion committees.
However, the way ADIDs serve in a leadership or supporting role in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts looks very different across divisions. Division I respondents were much more likely to serve in leading roles, while Division II and Division III respondents generally were serving in supporting roles.
By providing enhanced internal support — through online modules, webinars and other pertinent resources — the NCAA will help assist ADIDs as they work with their athletic departments and conference offices with diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. External support, such as that from the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association, has been integral in providing resources for those with the designation.
Through its Education/Professional Development Committee, MOAA has provided resources to ADIDs, like its three-part webinar series that delves into how to fulfill the responsibilities of the role.
"We have always advocated for ADIDs to be more than just an information-passing role," said Stan Johnson, MOAA executive director.
Another avenue bolstering the new campus and conference ADIDs is peer-to-peer support networks, such as the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Council of Excellence.
"We want to make sure that every ADID feels connected because you're not alone. All the problems and challenges that you're facing, I can guarantee you there are many people that are facing that, too," said Sheridan Blanford, co-founder of DIECE and associate athletics director for diversity, equity and inclusion at the University of Washington.
Made up of diversity, equity and inclusion professionals in sport, DIECE meets monthly to discuss, evaluate and create tangible solutions to increase diversity, equity and inclusion excellence within college athletics and sports more broadly.
"We created this to support ourselves and to be very intentional about continuing to show our peers that we're here to support you, too," Blanford said. "To be able to learn from each other and work problems out — it's just it's a fantastic space."